Before we get on to why yesterday sucked, Puri has taken a shine to Jen’s speaker. He played “daddies cool” to us on our acclimatisation hike on Saturday!
Sunday was just an awful day. It started with Debs being helicoptered out with fluid in her lungs. This was after an extremely stressful night for her and Kass, trying to keep her breathing. It was really heartbreaking to see this spunky woman shriveled up and sick.
Since Babs had already chartered a helicopter out (she was happy with the hiking she’d done), they shared it to Lukla, where Babs was dropped off. Debbie was taken straight to Kathmandu hospital. She’ll be there for a couple of days with a fairly severe chest infection. Babs and Jen have both been there to see her.
There was a lot of uphill in the hike on Sunday, and more of us are getting sick. I coughed for a couple of hours without a break, making my head and chest feel like they were going to crack with every heave. I was holding my skull together everytime i coughed, until Justine came and layered me up until i looked and moved like a snowman. This was only a small reprieve though, i continued to cough but less often.
During the steepest section, my heart felt like a bird in my chest, and that i was trying to breath through a blanket. As is totally rational in that situation, i panicked, making it worse. The guides took my bag from me (but only after a stern word from Justine). I struggled even without the bag to Loboche, and went straight to bed. I woke up with tonsillitis and tears, stayed awake as long as it took to take a few sips of soup and plan an alternative to EBC.
Another person who needed an alternative was Terry. She was brave enough to attempt EBC when given the choice (originally she was doing the Panorama alternative), but found herself with Altitude Sickness on Sunday. Ever the trooper, she made it to the end with the guidance of her sister, Gina, who was very worried. Terry walked all day with a headache, sore throat, lethargy, and an upset stomach.
She stumbled in to our teahouse and looked at me and said “I’m done. Today is my best”.
The alternative we came up with was for me, Terry, and Carol (who has suffered altitude on and off for days) to walk down with Binod today, and wait for the Base Camp trekkers here. We ended up being joined by Katherine and Michele, who came down pretty hard with their own respective illnesses overnight.
While the remainder of our team was hiking in -20 degrees, we had a leisurely morning and walked down almost 1000m. It was hard for us, as we all are sick, but we made it and have settled into our rooms in an attempt to recover before the rest of the group join us.
They should be at EBC right now. It’s a huge achievement, especially for those who are a little sick. They’re expected back in camp around 730pm tonight (they’ll be walking in the dark). This is followed up tomorrow by another 4am start and 12hr hike to meet us here.
Best wishes to all of you on the mountain; Di, Jules, Kass, Ali, Tracey, both Marks, Justine, Gina, and Gretchen! We are very proud of you!